One of the principles of Ayurveda is that regular massage promotes good health, better blood circulation, and enhanced muscular health. Ayurvedic principles mention that the body has seven layers of tissue or dhatus. The Sanskrit word sneha refers to love as well as oil, and it is believed that performing regular massage promotes warmth, stability and nourishment to the body.
Abhyanga refers to a thorough body massage with natural oil like sesame, coconut or mustard. Sesame oil is considered as the ‘king of oils’ and is great for those with a Vata constitution. Ashwagandha oil and almond oil are also good options. Take some oil in your palm and gently massage into your body all over, with firm but gentle strokes. It is even better if the oil is a bit heated. Regular Abhyanga imparts firmness, tone and vigour to your limbs and muscles. Over time, it also reduces the effects of ageing, and helps you to sleep better. A warm bath after a good Abhyanga massage once or twice a week is very beneficial for the skin, and nourishes it. It also enhances circulation and stimulates the internal organs.
Here are some tips to be kept in mind while performing Abhyanga:
- Keep a towel beneath you when you apply the oil and use a separate towel to dry yourself off after the bath.
- It is ideal to perform Abhyangae early in the morning. However, with the busy modern lifestyle it can be difficult to make time for it. In case you can do it only in the evening, wear light cotton or linen clothes after you finish and after taking bath. It will absorb any remaining oil from your body. You can also put a towel on your hair to prevent oil from getting on to your pillow when you sleep.
- Use about ¼ to ½ a cup of oil and place it in a pan of hot water to heat it slightly.
- At first apply the oil all over your body and then massage it into your body, beginning at the extremities moving to the middle.
- It is better to use longer strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints while massaging. Massage for at least five to twenty minutes.
- Take some time to massage the soles of your feet, your scalp and your ears. For clean ears, you can take an earbud, put a few drops of warm oil on it and clean the opening of the ear canal with it.
- Be careful not to slip when in the bathroom for taking bath after massaging. Make sure you hold on to something stable to maintain your balance and prevent slipping on the bathroom floor.
Abhyanga should not be performed during the menstrual cycle, or during pregnancy. It should also not be performed on inflamed, swollen or painful areas of the body or if you are suffering from any kind of illness.
The benefits of regular massage or Abhyanga are many, and it will also enhance the body’s capability to fight off infections and cope with stress. To know more about our Ayurvedic treatments, visit us here.